The story begins with the invocation to the Muse. What is the purpose of this section in The Odyssey?

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This part of the epic poem functions as a sort of prayer: Homer prays to the muse of epic poetry, a daughter of Zeus named Calliope, to "Sing to him" of Odysseus, to "Launch out on his story," starting wherever she would like to begin. Homer prays for the muse's assistance in the telling of this story, and this beginning certainly helps to illustrate what an integral part of life the immortals were for the ancient Greeks. One might not sing a song, recite a poem, or even eat a meal without making some offering, verbal or otherwise, to them. Further, this section...

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